Shota Imanaga [1296x729]
Shota Imanaga [1296x729] (Credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by ESPN BET, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

Note: This file will be updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.

Rested, but is he ready for the challenge?

Shota Imanaga's story has been one of the brightest of 2024, most recently earning him his first All-Star nomination. He ranks among the game's top 25 in both ERA (3.16) and WHIP (1.11), was the National League Rookie of the Month for March/April, and only places as low as he does in the fantasy earnings department -- 33rd among starting pitchers on the Player Rater, 36th in fantasy points -- because of the Chicago Cubs' careful management of his workload in his first year in the U.S.

That said, the Shota Show has slowed somewhat over the past six weeks, during which time he's 2-2 with four quality starts and a 6.51 ERA in his seven turns. Perhaps keeping that in mind, as well as the fact that he might need additional rest with prospective All-Star Game work in his immediate future, the Cubs pushed Imanaga back in their rotation by a day to Wednesday. He'll be working on six days' rest, which is significant only in that the last time he pitched with greater than five days' rest, he struggled to the tune of seven runs allowed in 4 1/3 innings back on May 29.

Imanaga's matchup isn't that appealing, either, a road matchup with the Baltimore Orioles, where the primary "say only something good" comment would be that Camden Yards has played neutral to pitching-friendly since the fences were moved out following the 2021 season. The Orioles, after all, are first in the majors with their 5.16 runs per game average, first in home run rate (4.2%) and second in team wOBA (.331). The projections indicate that the team should be more productive against right- than left-hander pitchers on paper, though thus far, the Orioles' team wOBA is actually better against lefties (.338) than righties (.329).

This isn't to say that Imanaga should be flat-out avoided in all fantasy circumstances. Thirteen of his 16 starts to date have resulted in double-digit fantasy points, including against top-five scoring teams the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, and any league larger than ESPN's standard will elevate him to start-worthy status. Imanaga's projection is understandably middling, so use that to decide whether it's worth spending that start -- if your league has a weekly cap -- on him.

What you may have missed on Tuesday

By Todd Zola

Back tightness forced Philadelphia Phillies SP Zack Wheeler to be removed from last night's contest after completing only five innings. The Phillies were leading the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 at the time, so Wheeler was credited with the win in the Phillies 10-1 victory. Wheeler tossed 76 pitches, with 47 strikes. He fanned seven while walking a pair. Wheeler is slated to pitch on Sunday, but the Phillies may use the All-Star break as an opportunity to get their ace some rest, so he'll be fresh for the second half and into the playoffs. Not including postseason innings, Wheeler has pitched the fourth most innings in MLB since 2021. He made the 2024 All-Star team, but was replaced by Pittsburgh Pirates SP Paul Skenes, since Wheeler's Sunday start would disqualify him from appearing in the Midsummer Classic. The Dodgers placed SP Tyler Glasnow on the 15-day IL with lower back tightness. Glasnow experienced the issue on Sunday, and the Dodgers took no chances with their ace. Glasnow will miss tomorrow's scheduled start, as well as the All-Star game. The IL stint was backdated to July 6, so barring any complications, Glasnow could return on July 21 for the ESPN Sunday night affair at home against the Boston Red Sox. San Francisco Giants DH Jorge Soler was scratched from last night's contest due to an illness. His availability for tonight's home interleague affair with the Toronto Blue Jays is unclear. The Giants won last night's series opener 4-3, scoring a pair of runs in the ninth inning to walk it off.  Blake Snell came off the 15-day IL to make the start. He threw five scoreless frames, yielding just one hit with three strikeouts and three walks.  Cincinnati Reds 2B Jonathan India was scratched last night with a left knee contusion. After beginning the season batting .208/.320/.279, India has been on a tear, posting a .324/.412/.500 line with four steals over his last 41 games. India has been batting leadoff, with Spencer Steer taking his place at the top spot last night. Steer understood the assignment, going 1-for-3 with a homer and two walks in the Reds 12-6 win over the Colorado Rockies. Rookie OF Rece Hinds enjoyed another big game, falling a single short of a cycle. Hinds' five extra base hits in his first two games is the first time that was ever done at the major league level. Pirates SS Oneil Cruz had last night off as he's dealing with a tight hamstring. Cruz was removed early from Monday's tilt, and the club decided to give Cruz at least a day to heal. His availability for tonight's road date with the Milwaukee Brewers is unclear. Everything else you need to know for Wednesday

Rain-out makeups: Tuesday's pair of washouts will be made up today as part of doubleheaders. The first is a day-night affair, with the opener between the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals starting the busy 17-game slate at 1:45 PM ET. A little while later, the Chicago White Sox will host the Minnesota Twins in the first of a traditional twin bill. Both of yesterday's games were called off before the pitchers began warmups, so all but Cardinals SP Sonny Gray will pitch today. Gray's start is pushed to Friday, with SP Gordon Graceffo being called up to serve as the 27th man and start the nightcap. Not only are batters from all four teams more attractive with the extra game, two of the starting pitchers were featured by Mike Sheets as streaming candidates in yesterday's notes. Let's review:

Although White Sox SP Erick Fedde's 8.0 K/9 rate has limited his ceiling as a fantasy option this season, he's been a quality streamer for most of 2024, and that's the case again on. The Twins' offense has been tough on right-handed pitching in 2024, but without Royce Lewis, who recently landed on the injured list with a groin injury, the sledding will be a little easier. Available in 50% of ESPN leagues, Fedde is worth streaming consideration if you have an empty roster spot. You wouldn't know it from his 11% rostered percentage, but Royals SP Michael Wacha has been on a roll of late. Over his past eight starts, he has produced a 2.31 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 46 ⅔ frames. He's held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in all eight of those starts. That success should continue on Wednesday against the Cardinals, whose offense has been roughly average (102 wRC+) over the last month.

Other notes:

Injuries to Jared Jones and Bailey Falter have left the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation in shambles, and the identity of Wednesday's starter will greatly influence the matchups for their American Family Field host, the Milwaukee Brewers. Paul Skenes would be on four days' rest for that game, but he hasn't pitched with fewer than five days yet in his big-league career, making a Thursday start more likely. Quinn Priester, who has pitched well in his two rehabilitation starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, could be activated for the assignment, though he has struggled mightily at the majors. Priester doesn't miss many bats and has surrendered .321/.411/.611 rates with a 6.3% home run rate to left-handed hitters in his career thus far, meaning that if he gets the ball, it'd be a prime matchups opportunity for left-handed Brewers Sal Frelick, Garrett Mitchell, Brice Turang and Christian Yelich. A pair of starting pitchers who reside back-to-back near the back end of the positional top 50 go head to head in a compelling duel at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, as Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Gavin Stone takes on the Philadelphia Phillies' Cristopher Sanchez. It's a challenging assignment for each, with the Dodgers ranking third in runs per game (5.03) and Phillies sixth (4.91), the game to be played in one of the most homer-friendly environments in baseball, and in Stone's case, the opposing Phillies have Kyle Schwarber back in action and could also get Bryce Harper back in time for the game. Similar to Imanaga above, both Stone's and Sanchez's projections account for the difficulty of matchup, and bear in mind that neither pitched especially well in his most recent outing. Both are probably still worth a go in every fantasy league, but if Harper indeed returns in time, Stone's matchup takes enough of a step back that he should be avoided. One of Wednesday's best hitting stacks is the Boston Red Sox against left-hander J.P. Sears, who has a 6.51 ERA in his past six starts and hasn't been missing many bats this season (16.7% K rate). Tyler O'Neill has crushed lefties all season, to the tune of .338/.471/.691 rates, while Rob Refsnyder typically bats second against left-handers, and is a worthwhile streamer for Wednesday's game. The Atlanta Braves also stand out on the hitting side against right-hander Slade Cecconi, who has completed five innings in only one of his past seven starts and has a 6.07 ERA in that time. Cecconi struggles nearly equally against righties and lefties, and is backed by one of the game's weaker bullpens (25th-ranked 4.41 ERA). Austin Riley has improved in a big way over the past month, batting .301/.377/.667 with nine home runs in 26 games in that time, and leadoff man Jarred Kelenic, available in more than 80% of ESPN leagues, has batted .292/.333/.539 in 22 games since his promotion to that spot.

It's not too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday. Come and join the fun!

Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday Reliever report

To get the latest information on each team's bullpen hierarchy, as well as which pitchers might be facing a bit of fatigue and who might be the most likely suspects to vulture a save or pick up a surprise hold in their stead, check out the latest Closer Chart, which will be updated every morning. 

Hitting report

Plan ahead in fantasy baseball with help from our Forecaster projections. Each day, we will provide an updated preview of the next 10 days for every team, projecting the matchup quality for hitters (overall and by handedness) as well as for base stealers.

Best Sub-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday

Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more. 

Max Kepler (MIN, RF -- 10%) at Andrew Thorpe and Erick Fedde Alec Burleson (STL, LF -- 37%) vs. Alec Marsh and Michael Wacha Lars Nootbaar (STL, CF -- 14%) vs. Alec Marsh and Michael Wacha Jose Miranda (MIN, 3B -- 35%) at Andrew Thorpe and Erick Fedde Brendan Donovan (STL, 2B -- 46%) vs. Alec Marsh and Michael Wacha Carlos Santana (MIN, 1B -- 18%) at Andrew Thorpe and Erick Fedde Andrew Benintendi (CHW, LF -- 10%) vs. Pablo Lopez and Bailey Ober Willi Castro (MIN, LF -- 44%) at Andrew Thorpe and Erick Fedde Eloy Jimenez (CHW, DH -- 22%) vs. Pablo Lopez and Bailey Ober Masyn Winn (STL, SS -- 14%) vs. Alec Marsh and Michael Wacha Worst Over-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 80%) at Zach Eflin Bo Bichette (TOR, SS -- 73%) at Logan Webb Ryan Jeffers (MIN, C -- 50%) at Erick Fedde Dansby Swanson (CHC, SS -- 54%) at Corbin Burnes Jeremy Pena (HOU, SS -- 54%) vs. Bryan Hoeing Gleyber Torres (NYY, 2B -- 57%) at Zach Eflin Christopher Morel (CHC, CF -- 54%) at Corbin Burnes Cal Raleigh (SEA, C -- 71%) at Michael King Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 76%) at Corbin Burnes David Fry (CLE, C -- 56%) at Reese Olson THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today New York Mets vs. Patrick Corbin Boston Red Sox vs. JP Sears Philadelphia Phillies vs. Gavin Stone